Monday, January 28, 2013

Making Beer in the Tropics


 Making Beer in the Tropics
(Brewing Beer in Vietnam)


Tsc Tempest, DCA along with Peter'sExtra, founded the Hanoi Handcrafted – Brewers Guild in Hanoi, Vietnam. He served as Guild Master from October 2009 to June 2012. Since then he has, along with fellow Australian, Aidan Schultz, founded HobbyBrau Hamburggroup of expat and German hobby brewers, based in Hamburg, Germany. They can be found on Facebook.

*This document first published, 2011.12.07 as a pdf for distribution within the Hanoi Handcrafted - Brewers Guild.


Introduction

Temperature control during fermentation is one of the core challenges facing any home brewer.

Unlike most of our friends in the home brewing world, keeping things warm enough is not a problem in the tropics. Far from it, for the tropical home brewer, the problem is trying to keep the fermenter cool enough so that the yeast doesn’t race away like some ‘Chain Reaction’ Catastrophe.

In the tropics for much of the year, ambient temperatures exceed the optimal brewing range for Ale Yeast, and without dedicated refrigeration, Lagering is a mere pipedream.

It is important for any brewer to understand the environment in which they brew. This starts with gaining an understanding of local geography and weather conditions.

This document is primarily focused on Vietnam, and in particularly, Hanoi, but the general principles are applicable to similar tropical environments.

Vietnam

Vietnam is describe variously as, ‘tropical monsoonal,’ and, ‘humid semi-tropical.’ What does this mean? Basically, it’s warm, year round and moist, two great things that allow mold, and wild yeasts to flourish in abundance. It also means that perishable things ‘go off’ or deteriorate rather quickly.

Let’s have a look at the following chart posted on Wikipedia,

Vietnam
Climate chart
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D


19

20
12


27

21
13


39

24
18


80

29
21


198

32
22


240

33
25


322

32
26


345

32
25


250

31
24


99

28
23


44

25
19


21

21
16
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: "The Climate of Vietnam". The Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in the United Kingdom..

Ale Yeasts tend to like living in a temperature range between 16 and 24 deg. C. Looking at the above chart, average ambient temperatures that are conducive to making Ales are from November through to March, with November and March tipping the ‘it’s a bit too warm’ scale.

This means that for approx. 8 months (2/3rds) of the year, it’s too warm to make beer and let the stuff ferment at ambient temperature.

If we delve into this further, localizing on Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, we get the following, 
[from "The Climate of Vietnam". The Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in the United Kingdom]





Hanoi
Month
Rainfall (mm)
Temperature (Celsius)
Average monthly
Ave no of days with 1mm
Average daily
Lowest recorded
Highest recorded
min
max
Jan
19
8
12
20
6
33
Feb
27
13
13
21
7
35
Mar
39
14
18
24
11
37
Apr
80
15
21
29
10
38
May
198
16
22
32
15
42
Jun
240
14
25
33
20
39
Jul
322
16
26
32
23
40
Aug
345
17
25
32
21
39
Sep
250
13
24
31
18
37
Oct
99
9
23
28
14
37
Nov
44
8
19
25
8
36
Dec
21
7
16
21
7
37



And…





Ho Chi Minh
Month
Rainfall (mm)
Temperature (Celsius)
Average monthly
Ave no of days with 1mm
Average daily
Lowest recorded
Highest recorded
min
max
Jan
14
3
21
32
13
37
Feb
4
2
22
33
15
38
Mar
12
2
23
34
19
39
Apr
42
5
24
34
20
40
May
220
15
25
33
21
39
Jun
331
22
24
32
22
38
Jul
313
23
25
31
20
35
Aug
267
20
24
32
19
34
Sep
334
21
23
31
21
35
Oct
268
20
23
31
20
34
Nov
115
12
22
30
18
35
Dec
56
8
22
31
15
36

From these we can see that in many months of the year, day time temperatures can exceed 30 deg. C, even when at the same time of year, night time temperatures can go below 15 deg. C.

That’s a challenge for any brewer.


Legal Issues
Every country has it’s own laws or regulations regarding the making and distribution of various types of alcohol. In this, Vietnam is no different.

The relevant Vietnamese Government Regulations that Home Brewers in Vietnam should be aware of are:

Basically, in Vietnam, it’s legal to brew as much alcohol as you like, as long as you neither trade nor sell it. So, that’s got personal and party consumption down pat.

Having said that many people seem to play free and loose with the regulations due to a couple of caveats. One, foreign faces seem to be able to get away with, ‘stuff.’ Second, the regulatory authorities don’t seem to place much emphasis on targeting small-scale operations for punitive punishments such as fines or confiscations, unless they draw too much attention to themselves from 'concerned locals.'

This means that, short of any highly publicized crackdown, the manufacture of beer for distribution at charity bazaars and the occasional, ‘featured homebrew’ at some pub more than likely will not attract any interest. 

Be that as it may, I do not advise you to explore becoming a home-based craftbrewer for cash, unless you are willing to process all the relevant legal entity paperwork.


Make beer.
Share it with your friends.
Give some away while fundraising for charity.
Have fun.


Controlling Fermentation
There are a number of options available to the Home Brewer in Vietnam. These range from small batch brewing; using (salted) ice baths; building cold boxes; re-tasking refrigerators or chest freezers; to air conditioning a small room or large insulated cupboard.

For the small-scale home brewer, or someone just starting out, the water bath/ice bucket method is the most cost effective and practical means of controlling fermentation.

Fermenters
There are a number of different options available for the home brewer for fermenters.

  • 19L plastic drinking water bottles – source from water suppliers
  • 20L plastic, wide mouth, storage bottles – source from Plastic Str.
  • 10L glass wide mouth bottles – Source from markets and street side vendors
  • Stainless Steel Pots – use your existing brewing kettle
  • Plastic basins – source from markets
  • Custom built coolship – source from stainless steel and /or copper workers

Gas Traps
Generally not available. However, a rubber bung, or carefully made hole in a lid, and plastic tubing exiting into a glass/jar/pot of water will more than adequately do the job. Rubber Bungs can be sourced from Scientific and Chemical supply outlets. 

The Water Bath Method (or Swamp Method)
This involves filling a bath or basin with cold tap water, placing the fermenter into the water bath and periodically refreshing the warmed water with more cold water.

The Ice Bath Method
As temperatures increase, the Water Bath Method can be modified as it may be necessary to add some ice cubes to assist with keeping the temperature within a suitable range.  Salting ice causes it to melt but also reduces the overall temperature of the bath by several degrees.

Adding a temperature probe with alarm can greatly increase temperature control during hotter days without having to hover over the fermenter.

Cool Box Method
Thick pieces of foam board are readily available and many vendors will knock up a box and deliver it for a small additional fee. You then place ice in the box to cool it down and then put your fermenter inside the box. The foam acts as an insulator and this helps keep the inside temperature of the box more stable and cool. Whilst relatively cheap, it’s not very durable. Silver insulation mat can also be purchased which has the ability to reflect light and heat, thus increasing cooling efficiency by about 3-5 degrees. This can be placed both on the inside and outside of a foam box to increase its durability. Lastly, ice melts. The boxes are usually not waterproof, so placement should be somewhere where water can easily drain away.

Refrigerator/Chest Freezer Method
The attraction of this method is the ability to use a dedicated fridge/freezer for fermentation, crash chilling and service. It is the basis of the home brewer’s ‘ideal’ piece of kit, “The Kegorator.” Brand new Chest freezers are relatively cheap in Vietnam, and temperature controllers can be bought, but it might be better to bring in a dedicated controller from OS.

Air Conditioned Room or Cupboard Method
It makes no sense to air condition an entire room just for your fermenter, and A/C units are rarely, if ever, installed in bathrooms or under stairwells. As such, a moderately small storage space, equipped with a portable, personal A/C unit may also do the trick. Getting a hold of one of these units, however may prove difficult.

Ice Box Method
A long time a go, before electric refrigerators existed, people used ice boxes. Basically this an insulated, wooden cupboard, lined with metal. The top has a hinged lid and supported metal box with an air gap between the metal box and the hinged lid. This is where a bar of ice would be placed. The metal box would also be fitted with a drain pipe and tube for melted ice runoff. Underneath in the main cabinet there would be one or two shelves and again, a drain pipe for removing condensate. With careful use, ice boxes could keep temperatures down around 3-8 degrees depending on the ambient temperature of the room.





Brewing Equipment
Some basic brewing equipment is not that hard to find in Vietnam. But much of the small, niceties are either difficult to get or impossible, short of bringing into the country with you.

Pots, burners, cooktops, basins, colanders, cloth, stirrers, jugs, ladles, scales, fermentation bottles, ice, bottles, etc. are readily available.

Thermometers, timers, chemicals, sanitizers, etc. are a bit more difficult to find.

Gas traps, Conical fermenters, siphons (auto siphons) bottling trees, cappers, caps, mini keg bungs, etc. need to pretty much brought in from overseas.

Some equipment can be manufactured, but it’s a case of finding someone you trust and then sticking with them, regardless of the price.

‘The Herald of Change’ Pilot Brewery
‘The Herald of Change’ (THC) Brewery is the name of my personal Handcrafted Home Brewery. As a response to interest from several people interested in starting to brew at home, I developed a kit of equipment suitable for the starting out home brewer. Basically, it was a ‘personal shopper’ type arrangement. I’d go out and buy the kit, get custom pieces made, assemble it together and pass it on to the new, starting brewer as a Guild Service.

This kit pretty much included the following:
:- a 16 L heavy based stainless steel pot with matching lid
:- custom made stainless steel basket [the ‘Bag’]
:- custom made stainless steel funnel
:- a large plastic basin
:- stainless steel spatula with long handle, flattened out to be used as a stirring/mash paddle
:- a 10 L glass bottle with plastic lid for use as a fermenter, and
:- a bottle of Providone Iodine (10% solution) Idophore substitute.

Nowadays, I’d suibstitute a 20 L wide necked, plastic water storage bottle for the glass fermenter. It has a little more volume, is unbreakable, easily cleaned and handled. The additional volume allows for maximizing the output of the Pilot Brewery so that 3 dozen ‘standard’ bottles of beer can be made, with careful manipulation of the brewing process and recipe.



Let’s now take a look at a typical home brew recipe and pull it to bits. You could follow this recipe and be able to make perfectly good beer. From there it’s up to you as to how you tweak it for your own personal taste.


THC Pilot Brewery Bitter


Ingredients
12L Water
1.75 kg Malt (Crushed)
30.9g Hops (Pellets)
500 ml Yeast Starter

Additional (Optional)
Crushed Ice
Salt

Water
Quality beer is made from quality water., and different waters affect the way beer brews. In Hanoi, there are three quality brands of water. These are, Laska, La Vie, and Kimboi. Laska is a soft water and is very suitable for making pale ales and blonde lagers. La Vie is a medium soft water, which is quite suitable for making red and brown ales, and brown lagers. Kimboi is the hardest, ‘recommended for use in making beer’ water and is suitable for porters, stouts, schwartzbier etc.

There is another water called Vinh Hao, however it is too ‘hard’ to be considered for making beer. The Hanoi tap water varies in quality. It is at borderline high, for arsenic concentration, and depending on where you are in the city, is at risk of contamination from other bacterial, chemical and gross biological pathogens. It is highly, recommended that you use either Laska, La Vie or Kimboi as your water source for making quality home brewed beer.

Malt
Malt and hops can be bought in Hanoi, it’s just depends on where and how much. By far the cheapest source is from Vietnamese-based maltster that imports Australian Barley, and then produces their own pale malt. However, this needs to be bought  in large quantities, usually 200-300+ kg of malt at a time.

Smaller quantities, at a higher premium can be bought from Goldmalt (34G Tran Phu). I’m guessing that if you are able to form a relationship with some of the other, ‘microbreweries’ in Hanoi, you might be able to source from them.

Malted wheat is difficult to get, and as of this writing, a source of normal whole wheat has not been found.

Adjuncts & Extracts
Oatmeal can be got rolled/flaked and steel cut. Rice is readily available, and with a little effort and detective work, Rice hulls can also be found. The only malt extract that is currently available is in 500g tubs of Rice Malt/Syrup, from China. Golden Syrup, Black Treacle, Honey, dark brown sugar, glucose can be sourced with a little effort, and Lactose would need to be brought in as it is generally not available.

A selection of malts and hops available from Goldmalt, 34G Tran Phu – Hanoi

Hops
There are a few suppliers of Hops and Hop Extract. But, again the issue comes down to quantity and the availability of different hop varieties is limited. Goldmalt will sell Czech Saaz & Sladek hop pellets. Eresson Beer (9 Pham Hung, Cau Giay), also indicated that they’d be willing to supply hop pellets and hop Extract. A source for hop flowers has yet to be found.

Yeast
Goldmalt has indicated that they’d be willing to supply live brewery yeast on 6 day’s notice. Yeast can also be cultivated from Cooper’s Ales, and a few Belgium bottle conditioned beers. Short of that, you’d need to bring yeast in, or have it shipped.

Crushed Ice
5 kg bags of ice can be usually bought from local minimarts. There are also a few bar ice vendors around. One is located near the Hanoi water tower.

Equipment
THC Pilot Brewery Kit, Thermometer, Stovetop (Electric Hotplate or Gas Burner)

You can use my brewery kit, or cobble together something on your own. This recipe uses the Australian Brew In A Bag (BIAB) technique. As such the amount of equipment needed is minimal, compared to other methods.

Basically, you need a pot, a bag, a heat source, a stirrer, a bucket, thermometer, a filter, a way to cool the wort, and a fermenter.

Optional Equipment
Malt mill, towel or blanket, small white saucer, spoon, large bucket, 1 L ladle, small watering bucket with rose, plastic colander, cheesecloth or kitchen paper towel, kitchen timer, trivet (wire cake/pot stand), kitchen plastic wrap, bottling wand, plastic tubing, S.G meter and 250ml measuring cylinder, or ATC refractometer.

Very useful brewing tools: Measuring Cylinder, Safety Glasses, Thermometer, S.G. Meter, pH Tape, Mini-scale

The Pot
You’ll need a pot big enough to take all your water and your grain. Whilst you only need one pot,  a second identical sized and shaped pot makes it easier to transfer the mash, filter the wort and ferment it. More on this later.

The Bag
In the BIAB method, a special bag is used that is heat resistant up to 80 dg. C is strong, fine meshed and durable. As such cotton/muslin is thought to break down too quickly as to be cost effective.  An alternative is to custom make a fine meshed bucket that sits inside your pot. This has the advantage that it can be used in a number of ways, especially if coupled with a large custom made funnel.

The Heat Source
There are as many different home brewers as there are ways of brewing and spaces in which to brew. Most who start out, brew in their kitchen, or bathroom. For those who live in a hotel, the only option is the Coffee Pot Method.

As such, they usually have access to a kitchen stove 3-4 gas burner with or without electric hob; or 2 burner gas stovetop; or a single plate electric, induction or halogen heating element. Some go so far as to buy a single burner gas ring or high btu gas burner. These instructions were put together assuming a 3 burner gas stove with single electric hob.

The Stirrer
A stirrer is needed for making sure the grains are moved about during mashing in to avoid doughballs. It’s also needed later after the boil to vigorously create a whirlpool.

The Bucket
A bucket is an essential item in your brewery. It can be used for many things. Here, it needs to be the same capacity as your pot.

The Thermometer
As mentioned previously the control of temperature in brewing is critical to your success as a brewer, as such, a good thermometer is absolutely essential. 

One can estimate temperature roughly by sight and touch to some extent, but it depends on personal experience, expertise and tolerance to heat…

  • Freezing – 0°C (Ice)
  • Beer Cold – 4°:6°C (Normal Fridge Temperature)
  • Chilly – 10°C (feels Cold on the back of your hand)
  • Cool – less than 35°C (feels not warm enough)
  • Lukewarm – 37°C (Body Temperature, Not cold, Not warm, Neutral)
  • Warm – 40°:50°C (Feels Warm, Comfortable to the touch)
  • Very Warm, Scalding – 50°:60°C (Uncomfortably warm)
  • Hot! – 70°:80°C deg. (Too Hot to touch)
  • Simmering – 90°C (Small visible bubbles, surface movement)
  • Boiling Water – 100°C (Large rolling bubbles breaking the surface)
  • Boiling Wort – 112°:115°C (Vigorous Rolling Boil)



A thermometer is a far better option and can usually be bought in a scientific supplies store (Trang Tien Str.)

The Mash Filter
There are several different ways to filter your mash. Here we are using a very fine meshed stainless steel basket which acts kinda like a lauter tun false bottom. A fabric brew bag will also do a similar thing, just lift it up and let it drain. Some home brewers attach taps to their pots and then use stainless steel braid or copper pipe manifolds to filter the Mash, relying on the grain bead to do most of the filtering. With “The Bag” you just lift it up, suspend it, and let it drip dry.

The Boiled Wort Filter
There are also several ways to filter the boiled wort. The Finns make a brew called Sahti where they use well layered juniper branches as a filter for the mash, and then later the spent grain and juniper branches for filtering the wort. Some home brewers use a tea towel, muslin cloth, cotton nappies etc. to filter the hops out of the boiled wort. Others sandwich cotton material or kitchen towel between two colanders and suspend that over a bucket. Still others ‘teabag’ their hops in a cloth bag. As home brewers get more ambitious, they eventually go on to “Whirlpooling” their boiling wort and carefully syphoning of the settled and clear green beer.

Cooling Method
Here you have two choices, cool quickly, or cool slowly. There are pros and cons to both. I’ll let you look that up for yourself.

If you choose not to cool then it is probably best to follow the Aussie No Chill Method [ANC], carefully and to the letter. I’ve not really looked for any ‘Cubes’ in Hanoi, but I daresay they can be found and most likely in Plastic Str.


Filled Cube.’  [source: http://hyperfox.info’webalbum03’finalproducttransferredtocubetocoolovernight.jpg]

However, the other method that appears to be working is to clean a sterilize a second pot, transfer the green beer to it, cover and leave in a draft free area overnight. You could also transfer the hot wort to a heat resistant HDPE food grade container and screw down the lid tightly. 

Where the ANC method has the advantage lies in the ability to exclude all air from the container. In some discussions some home brewers mention kegging the green beer and purging with CO2 but that is beyond the scope of this document.

If you choose to cool the there are several options that can be relatively easily implemented, such as Ice Bath Method, Coolship Method, Immersion Chiller Method.

Ice Bath Method
Here a second pot really comes in handy. Place the pot on a trivet, in the middle of a 55cm dia. Basin. Surround the pot with ice. Salt the ice, Pour the hot green beer into the iced pot, put the lid on the pot, and top up the basin with cold water. With 10 kg of ice, 5 L cold water and approx. 16 L of wort it should take roughly 3-6 hours for the wort to hit around 23 deg.



The Coolship Method
A variation on the above, where you use a 20L capacity custom built stainless steel or copper pot to hold the wort. Instead of 10kg of ice, 5 kg is used and after about 50-60 min. the water ice mixed is replaced. The advantage of this is that the time to cool the wort is much faster than for the Ice Bath Method.  If custom making this, go to Hang Thiec Str. I’d have it made up rectangular, and get a second larger box made from the same material made to use in stead of a circular basin.

This uses a coil of copper pipe, garden hose and tap water to chill the wort. This is probably by far the most common method used by home brewer. Copper Pipe can be got in Hang Thiec Str.

Fermenters
Most home brewers use plastic 19 L water demijohns. In Hanoi, the water companies take a bit of a dim view on getting empty, dirty demijohns back and frequently wont take them or may refuse to return paid deposits. In this case it is better to buy wide mouth water barrels from plastic Str. and use those.  Glass barrels in smaller capacities can also be bought, but the tend to be fragile and less forgiving of the occasional bump.
     

Other Equipment
It is very, very easy to get carried away in the accessory purchasing race. More. Bigger. Better. Shiny! I have come to the realization that once you exceed the capacity of your existing system to do exactly what you want, when you want to, and how you want to, then it’s time to upgrade.

Sterilization
A brief comment on sterilizing stuff. The kit includes a bottle of lodine. A moderate to firm, half second squirt will deliver approx. 5ml of lodine. If you fill up your pot or basin, then 3 to  5 good squirts, respectively, should do the trick.

First wash everything that is to come into contact with your boiled wort.
Wash with normal soap or detergent (some prefer dishwasher tables) rinse a minimum of 1 + 3 times. The first time removes the soap, the next 3 should, if properly performed, remove up to 95-99% of any residuals, hence the '3 times rinse' rule.

Next immerse utensils, and containers in iodized water (between approx. 1-10  ml iodine per L of water) for a minimum of 10 min. Drain. No need to rinse.
There are alternatives, such as spraying and wiping with ‘Con 90’ denatured Ethanol, or soaking in a 10% bleach solution then rinsing. Or Sodium Hydroxide NaOH (Caustic Soda) or Sodium Metabisulphite (Irritant).

I recommend 10% Providone Iodine or 90° Ethyl Alcohol.



Procedure for making an All Grain Beer
1. Put all water into the pot

2. [Strike] Raise water temperature to around 40-45 deg. C.   

3. Rain crushed malt into the water, stir well and rest for 5 – 10 min. This is called a β-Glucanase Rest. It helps to soften the cell walls and make the starches more available, thus increasing Extraction Efficiency. The mixture is now known as a Mash

4. [Mashing] Bring temperature up to 65-68 deg. C



5. Remove from heat source and wrap pot in towel or blanket and allow to rest for 1-2hrs. This allows the enzymes in the grain to convert the starches into sugars, and is known as a Saccharification Rest.

Alternatively, if you are confident in your electric hob you can rest the pot on the lowest heat setting and periodically stir the mash.

6. [Iodine Test] Place a teaspoon of mash liquid into a white saucer and apply a couple of drops of lodine. lf the iodine does not change colour, then Mashing is complete.



7. Bring Mash Temp up to 78 deg. C  This ensures the dissolved sugars stay in the liquor and not on the grains.



8. [Lautering] Gently lift the stainless steel bag from the pot, allow the bulk of the liquor to drain off and then upend the stainless steel funnel in the pot, underneath the bag. Leave the bag on inverted funnel to drip dry.  The separated liquor is now called wort (pron. wert or wirt.)



Optional Refinement Step, lf wort is too cloudy for your liking, heat back up to 78 deg. C transfer to a bucket and gently ladle over the grain that’s resting in the pot on top of the chimney funnel.

9. [Boil] Bring the wort to a rolling boil. Set kitchen timer for 30min. Place the chimney funnel on the pot so it looks like a little hat - this helps control the rate of evaporation and also refluxes some of the evaporated, 'stuff' back into the boiling wort.



10. [Hop Additions] Add two thirds of the hop pellets to the wort, place in a cloth bag if you like,  and set kitchen timer for 50 min.

11. Add remainder of the hop pellets, in another bag if you like, and set timer to 5 min.

12. [Hop Separation - Whirlpooling] When the boil has finished, give the wort a vigorous stir, while it is still on the heat, if there is sufficient heat the whirlpool should start to bubble up and down the liquid funnel of the whirlpool making it turn faster. [Funnel Effect discovered by guild member and co-founder, Peter Lentes, ‘PetersExtra’.] Do this for 10-15 seconds or so and then switch off the heat, leaving the hot wort to settle for about 10-15 min.  Once settled, Syphon the clear wort into a sterilized bucket.

13. [Hop Separation – Alternative] Place kitchen towel, or tea towels, etc. between two colanders sit them on top of the inverted stainless steel funnel, in a bucket and pour the wort slowly through the filter. Also worth considering, experiment with using the stainless steel bag (and cloth hop bags) to try and keep the wort as clear as possible.

14. [Cooling] Choose one of the cooling methods as previously listed and bring the wort down to yeast pitching temperature. Ideally, you will have prepared a yeast starter, have some live brewery yeast, or have yeast from a previous brew, ready to be pitched into the cooled wort.


Cooling via homemade coolship using two 55 cm dia. Basins separated by ice.

15. [Fermentation] When wort is at approx. 20 deg. C  (less than 24 deg. And more thn 16 deg. ) aerate wort and transfer it to a sterilized fermenter by tipping it from a moderate height through a colander or the stainless steel bag held by the inverted stainless steel funnel.



Make sure to keep 10% of the un-yeasted wort by volume for use as a Primer later. This is called Kraeusening.  Remove the bag or colander and funnel from the fermenter then pitch the yeast – give it a good shake before doing so, so as to 'wake up' the yeast; which should be at the same temperature as the wort.

16. Place cover on fermenter and put away into a dark, temperature stable location. You may need to consider on of the solutions explored in the Controlling Fermentation Section, earlier.



17. [Clean Up] lts best to wash as you go, but all equipment should be washed and rinsed before putting it away - don't leave it till the next day. If you use the immersion chiller method for cooling your wort, save the cooling water for use in clean up.

18. Monitor the fermentation, particularly the ambient temperature and take corrective measures where necessary. In the first few days activity should be very noticeable.

After about 3 days when the peak seems to have slowed a little, you can, if you so choose to, transfer to a new sterilized fermenter making sure to remove any yeast cake still on top and remove the fermented wort from the sediment on the bottom. The fermented wort is now known as green beer.

Place the cleaned, green beer, into the sterilized fermenter to continue fermenting out approx. 2-10 days depending on room temperature and desired final gravity.  It is believed by some, that it is better to have the green beer, 'off the primary' fermentation as close as possible to the end of peak activity (High Kraeusen) and put to a secondary so as the dead yeasts arising from the first rapid ferment do not impart off flavours to the beer. Others say that this is not an issue for home brewers like it is for commercial breweries due to the mass and volume of beer being produced. Still others advocate leaving the primary running undisturbed for four weeks, so that the yeast has a chance to clean up any diacetyl naturally,  thus improving the overall beer quality. This is an ongoing point of debate and conjecture. Look into it and do what you feel you are comfortable with.

19. [Bottling] Carefully decant the green beer off the fermentation lees into clean, sterilized bucket. [Bottle the lees for pitching into the next brew. This can be done a maximum of six times before needing to start a new batch.]

Add the primer that was kept from the brew day and then syphon via a bottling tube, or hose, into clean, sterilized bottles. Cap & clean, any spills, cover with an old towel and store in a temperature stable place for 2-4 weeks (or longer).  Should any bottles explode, the towel will stop broken glass from going all over the place. Better still, PET bottles are now available in stores selling beer, so recycle some of those.

20. [Dispensing] Place aged, bottle conditioned beer, undisturbed, into a fridge for 2-7 days (longer to assist settling). When serving, do not shake the bottle, open it and decant to a serving jug, being careful not to transfer sediment - the sediment will only make it a little cloudy but not affect the taste.

This is an Ale. Ales are traditionally flatter than Lagers so a little gas loss here without creating too much head is acceptable. Pour from the serving jug into glasses and share.

Until next time,

Its Your Shout, Mate!
__________________

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